They experienced social isolation, and were often physically banished from their homes and communities by invisible barriers. As adults, they struggled to find jobs because of their status and were required to regularly check in with law enforcement. Failure to report even a minor change in their life situation could result in a felony charge that would send them to prison.
Of the kids I interviewed, one in 5 had attempted to take their own lives. Many I never had the chance to talk with succeeded in doing so.
Tracking hundreds of thousands of registrants for entire lifetimes is a costly burden to law enforcement. The conservative Washington, DC-based R Street Institute recently conducted an economic analysis revealing this practice costs as much as $3 billion a year and has virtually no economic or societal benefit.
Decades of research definitively show it’s ineffective at best, and counterproductive at worst. Meanwhile, 11 states and the District of Columbia have never subjected kids to registration—with the same or lower new offense and recidivism rates.